Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A luxurious, adults-only haven spread along a 30-acre private peninsula
Bermuda is a decidedly proper island when compared to its closest neighbors in the Caribbean. Here, afternoon tea is a daily ritual and jackets are often required for dinner. Nowhere is this chic elegance more emphasized than at Cambridge Beaches Resort, a 30-acre retreat located on the island’s westernmost edge.
This 96-key resort’s sophistication is palpable from the moment you arrive in the reception area, which is comprised of a handful of tastefully furnished connecting rooms that range in decor from old English library (massive gilt-edged books and antique globes), to country manor (vaulted wood-beam post ceilings and comfy wingback chairs), to trendy lounge (a collection of ornate mirrors and funky pink accents). This mishmash of styles continues throughout, whether in the classic Bermudian bar, the pretty salmon-colored formal dining room, the perfectly manicured cricket lawn, the decadent spa and indoor pool complex, or the crisp and colorful rooms.
Like many resorts on the island, Cambridge Beaches has a fascinating history, dating back to the 1600s when a former sea captain and one-time island governor placed this coveted parcel of land along Mangrove Bay for sale. Today, the resort, though modern and even somewhat trendy, has lovingly maintained the former owner’s residence, converting it into one of its most expensive guest units, the two-bedroom Pegem Cottage, which features its own private gardens and traditional Bermudian decor. Most of the remaining units are significantly smaller (and several of them do not have the same stunning ocean views), however, all have marble bathrooms and colorful interiors.
Elegance, charm, and heritage, of course, come at a price, and Cambridge Beaches certainly has a high one. In fact, the resort rivals the newer Rosewood Tucker’s Point for the most expensive rates on the island. Nonetheless, four private beaches, three restaurants, two pools, an on-site marina, and a neighboring nature preserve work hard to justify the wallet-slimming cost. The recently completed main pool is especially alluring with its waterfalls, multi-level decks, sexy slender palm trees, and beachfront location; as is the tranquil 10,000-square-foot Ocean Spa, which features a Roman-style solarium and holistic treatment menu.
If anything, the resort-wide level of relaxation is almost a bit too much, and you might just feel compelled to whisper when you open your mouth. (During breakfast, for instance, the Tamarisk restaurant was full, and yet you could have heard a pin drop). Those looking for something less prim and more energetic might think twice about this isolated and (mostly) kid-free option.
Along a private 30-acre peninsula in the westernmost part of Bermuda
Situated in Sandys Parish along the “hook” of the island, Cambridge Beaches claims to have the best sunset views due to its westernmost location. Unfortunately, such isolation comes with a total lack of activities within walking distance, and hefty cab fares will be a considerable issue for those hoping to see the rest of the island during their stay. Luckily, between April and October, the resort offers its own free ferry to downtown Hamilton, where the majority of city life takes place. Moped rentals are also available on-site.
In an effort to permit as few vehicles as possible on the island, car rentals are strictly forbidden. Even locals are allowed only a single car per household -- something you’ll notice when you see the never crowded lush, winding roads that unobtrusively snake through the island. Taxis are reliable and metered according to state law, so there is no need to negotiate fares; however, rates are exceptionally high.
Those looking to save on few cab fare might consider renting a moped, the islanders’ preferred mode of transportation. While safety may be an issue for some, a local speed limit of just 35 km (about 21 mph) will likely assuage most fears. Consider the less expensive ferries and local pink-and-blue buses to cover longer distances between “the hook” (Bermuda’s westernmost island), the main city of Hamilton, and the beaches along the southern side of Warwick and Southampton.
Eclectic decor -- ranging from light and airy to rich and sophisticated -- with balconies or patios in all rooms
Bermudian resorts are an easy sell when viewed from the outdoors. But more often than not, beyond the crystalline blue waters, dramatic peaks, and overgrown jungles are some seriously shabby rooms. Cambridge Beaches is different. Although some cottages date back as far as the 17th and 18th centuries, all rooms are modern with crisp linens, colorful pillows and lamps, luxurious marble bathrooms, and garden- or ocean-view balconies. The more expensive rooms have the best views, but it's the suites and cottages that really impress with Jacuzzis, expansive floor plans, and even private infinity-edge pools in some units.
Two pools, three restaurants, and four beaches make for a glamorous, adults-only retreat (kids are allowed during limited time frames).
Three restaurants, each with a distinct setting and menu, offering everything from elegant seafood to casual beachside bites and poolside tapas
The highly rated Tamarisk -- the resort’s main restaurant, helmed by seasoned chef Harald Klement -- provides an elegant take on seafood with entrées like the pan-fried salmon filet with Parmesan polenta and white mushroom eggplant caviar. Pink walls, blonde wood vaulted ceilings, flowing white curtains, and a breezy veranda filled with modern chairs and tables lend even more refinement to the dining experience. For late-night entertainment, head to the Bermudian style lounge and bar next door.
More casual fare can be found at the seasonal beachside Breezes restaurant, which is located on Long Bay Beach right next to the Seaview Gardens Nature Preserve. The menu here is a simple yet delightful mix of surf and turf.
The poolside Shutters restaurant is ideal for early evening tapas and cocktails with its white and pale blue benches and chairs.
Those who choose the all-inclusive rate receive the benefits of the resort’s Dine-Around program, under which guests eat free at The Reefs and Pompano Beach Club resorts.
This 96-room, 30-acre resort trumps almost every other resort in Bermuda as far as style and sophistication are concerned. Of course, you’ll pay some of the island’s highest rates to enjoy it. But with its two stunning pools, expansive spa, four private beaches, three restaurants, and some of the most beautifully landscaped grounds around, you might just consider it a worthwhile investment.